Some goodbyes are temporary, leaving us with an assurance that we will see a favorite place or cherished person again. Other goodbyes, we know, will be final. Some goodbyes are expected, even occasioned by happy celebration as positive changes occur. Others are sudden jolts, seemingly coming out of the blue and leaving us with sorrow, grief, and even regret. Often, we try to avoid saying goodbye, as if denial will eliminate the event. But God tells us that there is a time for every event under the sun, and there is a time for goodbye:
To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,
A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,
A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
Like most, I have said my share of goodbyes: children heading to college, grandchildren moving several hours away, friends being led away to new ministry opportunities, and the death of loved ones. At times, it has been my life that has taken a new course and I have been the one to say goodbye to what I have held dear.
In Ecclesiastes 3, we are reminded that we cannot move forward in life without letting go of what has been. The letting go is necessary for life to continue–embracing what comes next. Our comfort must be in God, Who is with us in every change: the expected and the unexpected, the joyful and the sorrowful. We can hold the Hand of the One Who stays constant as we move through the “goodbyes” of life!
When have you said goodbye to something or someone? Do the verses in Ecclesiastes 3 comfort you, knowing that God has a plan for you when something comes to an end?
Amplified Bible, biblegateway.com